Canadians mark Orange Shirt Day, or the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, on September 30 to recognize the legacy of residential schools and honour Survivors and their families. Today, we are partnering with the Orange Shirt Society and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) to amplify meaningful discussions about the impact of the residential school system.
The NCTR was created as part of the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to share the truths of Survivors’ experiences and work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to support the ongoing work of reconciliation and healing across Canada. Between September 26 and 30, the NCTR presents Truth and Reconciliation Week 2022, a free education program open to schools across Canada.
As part of this programming, teachers and students will join the NCTR for the first-ever live stage program “Gidinawendimin – We Are All Related.” The event will feature Survivors, performers and Knowledge Keepers from across Canada, and will focus on remembering the children who never came home from residential school.
This year, we’re partnering with the NCTR to share this programming on Facebook, making it accessible from coast to coast as a resource for Canadians to learn, reflect and consider their role on the path toward truth and reconciliation. You can watch “Gidinawendimin – We Are All Related” on the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Facebook Page beginning at 7PM EST on September 29.
In partnership with the Orange Shirt Society, we are also launching a new augmented reality (AR) effect inspired by the experience of residential school survivor Phyllis (Jack) Webstad. The story of Phyllis’ orange shirt, given to her by her grandmother and taken from her on her first day at the St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in British Columbia, inspired a national movement and cemented the orange shirt as a symbol of the loss experienced by students, their families and communities over generations.
This year’s “Orange Shirt Day” image was created by Grade 11 student Geraldine Catalbas from Ponoka, Alberta. Her submission was selected by the Orange Shirt Society as the winner of an annual contest among Indigenous and non-Indigenous children across Canada. In Geraldine’s design, the shoes represent the children who died in residential schools, while the shoelaces, transforming into an eagle, symbolise their freedom. Developed in AR by Indigenous multi-disciplinary artist Josh Conrad, the effect lets people on Instagram honour the resilience of Survivors. To use the effect, visit the Orange Shirt Society Instagram account.
We’re privileged to play a role connecting Canadians on Orange Shirt Day as the country honours the children and Survivors of residential schools. Public commemoration of the history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process in Canada. We’re committed to ensuring our technologies are a place for First Nation, Inuit and Métis people to connect to their communities, share their stories, enable cultural preservation and share history.